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Hampton Inn appeal hearing Monday

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn City Council will consider an appeal to the proposed three-story 104-room Hampton Inn project off Interstate 80 and Russell Road in Auburn Monday night. Auburn-based architect Faradg Gilanfarr and his wife, Mary, filed the appeal with the city June 12 citing environmental impacts and aesthetics as major concerns. “After seeing what this hotel would look like, it looked like your standard, cookie-cutter hotel along the freeway,” Mary Gilanfarr said after filing the appeal. “There is also going to be a lot of impact on the community — sewer, natural gas, traffic. And I think there is a way for all these things to be addressed so (the developers) could produce a design for a building that is energy-efficient.” Auburn Planning Commissioners approved 3-1 June 3 a use permit, height variance and tree permit for the 5.9-acre hotel project. The $15 million Hampton Inn & Suites, which will include a swimming pool, spa, business center, meeting rooms and a standalone pad site for a 6,000-square-foot restaurant, is situated on an oak-filled stretch of undeveloped land near the Auburn Woods condominiums on Lincoln Way. The project will also require the removal of approximately 285 trees, which could be mitigated by on-site planting and a payment of $25,775 in-lieu tree mitigation fees for the balance. Commissioner Lisa Worthington voted against the project. She said the hotel’s scale was too big and she didn’t think a proposed landscape buffer was sufficient. A handful of residents also spoke out in opposition to the project at the June 3 meeing, citing size, height, aesthetics, tree removal and sewer services as major concerns. “We are not opposed to a hotel or any development on this site,” Auburn resident Deren Ross said at the meeting. “Our problem is that with this hotel, comes the excessive removal of trees. And the scale — it’s massive, it’s huge. We feel this project is too large.” The land is zoned for hotel use and city staff have determined the project’s traffic effect on the community is minimal because it is adjacent to Interstate 80. The project developers will also be re-sponsible for minor road widening along Lincoln Way including curb, gutter and sidewalk improve-ments. The Journal’s Jenna Nielsen can be reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com or comment on this story at auburnjournal.com.